NT cattle station income to be triple the decade average this year 

The national commodity forecaster ABARES is tipping Northern Territory cattle station incomes will be triple the average of the last decade this year.

The turnaround is attributed to a rebound in live cattle export numbers, prices received and a high cattle turn-off rate.

ABARES’ Peter Gooday said a slight spike in debt was a result of reinvestment in farms and that NT farm income was expected to continue rising.
“In 2015/16 we’re expecting that across the Northern Territory farm cash income for beef cattle operations will average $1.2 million a farm,” he said.
“That’s compared to a ten year average of a bit over $400,000.”

The average income for operations carrying more than 10,000 head of cattle was $1.4 million, whilst the average income for those carrying less than that was just $70,000.
Mr Gooday said the stark contrast in average income was due to different station sizes and a high variability of the same.

“It doesn’t make all that much sense to compare the two,” he said.

Even though average NT station income doubled between 2013-14 and 2014-15, average debt increased over the same period by almost $150,000 to $1.4 million.

Mr Gooday said “most of the debt that’s being taken on has been to reinvest into the farm rather than to meet overdraft payments and the like”.

He added that a similar trend related to agricultural debt was being seen across Australia.
The average farm cash income of NT broadacre farms

Region 2014–15

(preliminary estimate) 2015–16

(provisional estimate)

711: Alice Springs District $414,000 $614,000

712: Barkly Tablelands $2,897,000 $4,718,000

713: Victoria River District – Katherine $402,000 $705,000

714: Top End Darwin and the Gulf $199,000 $342,000

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey


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